The Future: Dr. Who (2)

Because the fab over-the-pond children’s imaginarium Dr. Who has gone through a dozen (so far) ‘regenerated’ lead actors, it has fallen prey to ‘The 12 Days of Christmas’ curse (nothing more banal than being the subject of that mindless, mundane echolalia).

Literary Ethnography does “Twelve Days of Christmas (Doctor Who Edition)” as a list of favorite monsters–mostly. It’s stiff upper Brit and a test of one’s patience, as it should be.

As a tribute to the showrunner, Steven Moffat, Sherwhovians has clipped together some amusing show moments with a jolly electronic tune running behind and ballooned some captioned comedy riffing on the “12 Days of Christmas-Dr. Who.” It’s fun for fans.

Trent and Brayden fanboy up their family room with a hearty “Doctor Who 12 Days of Christmas.” Travel back in time and don’t watch it. Or Kelly Martin‘s. Or Thecrackinyourwall‘s. Or theDXT‘s. Or Amy Rae‘s (better voices). Or Matt Shan‘s. Or Sarah and Lizzie‘s.

Yeah, this is played out already. John Graham mumbles through “A Whovian 12 Days of Christmas.” But this one is only about Matt Smith’s 11th Dr. As with the best ’12 Days’ he changes up the lyrics with each iteration. Smart.

The best rounds here are the ones that credit each of the twelve Drs. with some aspect of that character. Most basic is T.J. Jackson’s “12 Doctors of Christmas.” Apart from some daffy animation, each different day is merely the name of the next actor. (Even more minimalist is David Dunlap‘s slide show to music.) Most astute is Petra Elliott’s “12 Doctors of Christmas.” Each verse is all about an individual Doctor–only for the avids (great finish). The Brony with the Bow Tie tries his “The Twelve Incarnations of the Doctor” with endearing attempts at humor. Missed it by that much. Hope Spears does even less well with her earnest geekitude in “12 Days of Doctors.” Make it stop. Thomas Seymour compels cos-playing awful-singers to perform in their “12 Days of Christmas-Dr. Who.” Ecch. Finally more clever but befuddling is the excellent clip show to Bob Rivers’s ‘The 12 Pains of Christmas’ done by T.D. Possum. Each Dr. is featured ordinally but 50 years of tape is synched up (almost to lip-synching) with this funny business. Kiki Lnxwell does a micro-version.

There are no best of here as far as original songs go. So I end with The Order of Gallifrey who seem to having the most fun while embarrassing themselves the least over “12 Doctors of Christmas.”

…just pretend the other homegrown versions don’t exist.

The Future: Dr. Who (1)

It’s a new year, with thoughts of the future. You know, science fiction. For those not in the know, Dr. Who is a TV series from the UK beginning about when the James Bond movies began. Except for a massive collapse in the ’90s (lasting 15 years) the show has been educating children as to relativity, totalitarianism, and xenophobia for generations.

For those who know Who, here’s a fairly cast, fun, in-house bit with various Drs. gathered for the Yule (you think your family get-togethers are weird…): “Christmas Day Dr. Who Style” by the Dead Ringers.

Why so many Doctors? Time travel and casting for a TV series gets tricky. So this character gets to have an occasional death scene and then come back as a ‘regeneration’–all quite JC and Christmassy, don’t you know.

To keep the spirit merry, then, join Not Quite Literally Productions with the “Regeneration Carol.”

State Enough Already: American Samoa

American Samoa is not Samoa, which doesn’t belong to us. AS was occupied around 1900 and has never been fully adopted. It’s an unincorporated territory. Kind of a hobby, i guess. The big exports are tuna and military recruits (no other jobs, brah).

Some of the carols in Samoan are pretty, if a little electric. Like, you know, “Alofaaga mo Toa o Samoa” by the Petesa-Uta Congregational Christian Church of American Samoa Choir. Or, on the pop side, Mr. Tee and Zipso (a morning Zoo radio duo??) rap out “Manuia Le Kerisimasi.” Great guitar riffing (Island Bluegrass??) and purdy pop holiday moods come from Panesi Afulao with “Tu’u Mai Lu Lima.” It’s a two-step, fur sure.

As for English The American Samoa Community College Choir sings Dr. Paul Pouesi’s heartbreaking (i guess) paean for the tsunami victims back in 2010: “Christmas is Here Again.” (I’m pretty sure that’s not ironic.)

I’m going to settle on the language i don’t know, however, because ANZ Bank Choir rock me with “Samoa’s 13th Days Christmas.” It sounds like ladies vs. gents, but i kinda wanna sing along.

State Some More: N. Marianas Islands

Boy this keeps going on and on…

The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands include 14 parcels of land spread over 300 miles. Most of the people (less than 2% white) live on Saipan, Rota, and Tinian. They are of Chamorro extraction, and became part of the US back in ’75. Some funny-business banking there, but also sweatshops.

Or–i dunno–you could look it up yourself. I’m guessing.

For a quick primer of Christmas music here check out “The 12 Days of Christmas” as sung by Maggie Naputia and her posse.

For proper Chamorro, there’s Sons of the Marianas “Christmas Song.” Catchy, but my translator leads me to believe it’s vaguely racist. And then there’s Frank ‘Boko’ Pangelinan singing “Merry Christmas.” This seems more reverential, in a shake your money maker kind of way. Definitely Pacific Islander in melody is Gus B. Kaipat with “Christmas in the Marianas.” I feel like standing at attention with my hand over my heart and my hips slightly swaying.

Back to the American language: Walter Manglona gets all electric with his hip hop “Christmas Time is Here Again.” I can’t tell if mo marianas is mo problems, but he’s selling the music. Peace, Pacifickers.

State Et Cetera: Guam

Guam is the jewel of the Marianas Islands… which we also ‘protect.’ It’s all military and touristy. A nice place to visit (Magellan liked it)….

For a taste of the people and their language and our electric keyboards try “Chamorro Christmas Songs. I may be hearing a bit of polka oompah. The Germans used to own the Northern Marianas. Hmmm.

Louise and Friends sing “Santa’s Island in the Sun” as a truly dreadful disco rap. They want to entertain you–or time travel.

St. Francis School Honor Choir brings us “Christmas in Guam” with harmonies of angels missing teeth piggybacking a ’70s backbeat. Their innocence truly makes this tiny rock a paradise for the holidays. (For a grittier version check out the slide show version here.)

State Extra: Puerto Rico

Time to finish up our duty-free duty:


Although i finished State Fifty: Hawaii back on the fifth of December, USA gots some provincing to do…

The people of Puerto Rico have had citizenship since 1917, and the archipelago has been a commonwealth since 1952, but PRs have regularly defeated bills to vie for statehood. More Puerto Ricans live in the continental than on the island. Poverty and unemployment are rampant. then again–party-time for touristas. And ‘West Side Story.’

Although locally colorful noeling includes La Parrandas Navidenas, and Exitos Navidnos de Puerto Rico, i no habla.

So quick pick (another Dr. Demento fave): Rickie Vera singing “How Can Santa Come to Puerto Rico?” It’s on a lovely compilation entitled Mambo Santa Mambo from the friendly folks at Rhino.


Christmas/New Year’s Day

‘Tis the day to think about taking down the ornaments and calling the Boy Scouts to come get your tree. In other words, Christmas is officially over.

A New Day has begun. A New Year.

Now, much is made of turning over a new leaf on the calendar. Dieting, exercising, quitting, starting, asking… it’s all athreat today. Myself, i’m over it. No self-help from yours truly.

For a quickie on the the whole magilla please refer to “New Years Resolutions Through the Ages.”

And some SING SERIOUSLY about this self-imposed life-changing mind-over-matter. Graham Coulton‘s is a lachrymous retrospective of the breakup he just had. Loser.

Otis Redding and Carla Thomas have the best classic R&B. of course. But it’s a couple’s standoff.

Jen Armstrong‘s is nothing new: good pipes, but the soulful siren song also laments him gone bye.

Camera Obscura‘s is more enticing vocals and emo loneliness. I can dance to this one, though. Talkin’ slooow dance….

Kevin ‘KRIA’ Allvarez‘s is Motown for kiddies with a rap interlude. It’s more hopeful and upbeat, but the electric keyboard gets old fast.

After the Curfew‘s alt-garage offering is navel-gazing future-sensing at first… then all about the breakup. It’s not her, it’s u.

Helen Reddy‘s version is so 1971 and tautological it says nothing about everything (but check out that flute solo).

Oddly, ’tis the time for proselytizing. With some fun stats and a killer clip from ‘V for Vendetta’ peacetv tries to stop your drunken shenanigans with “New Years Resolution Song 2009.” Spell it along with them!

What we’re looking for here in the novelty game is a sense of humor to cover the scent of Baby Time’s saggy diaper. So, try Rhett and Link’s “New Years Resolutions.” They’re no Flying Conchords, but they are filling that modern folk comedy rap vacuum.

Also listing non sequitors, Zoe Anne harmonizes with herself for “New Years Resolutions Fails Song.” Millennial miseries–meh! She’s adorkable, but she’s no Zoey Deschanel.

Another near-comic miss is Quiet Company’s nervous folkie “New Year’s Resolution.” Wait… are they serious?

Angry and nonsenical, Adam the Woo and Beth Vandal shout their way through “New Years Resolutions (The Song).” I’m glad they got it out of their systems.

For more of a serial killer deadpan with comic lyrics, try Nick Bunyan’s “Happy New Year Song.” He’s insulting. It’s funny.

Jack Danyells recounts his wish list with modulo and a helpful bouncing disco ball to follow the lyrics with “New Years Resolution Song.” But then he gets mean about idiot celebrities and loses his charm.

Supricky Quickie delivers a one-minute bit with “The New Year’s Song.” Nice twist, bro.

BLUE ALERT: The ladies know how to ironically change it up to. Vis a vis Coleen Wainwright with “The Boulder.” (Yes, it’s about New Years.)

Classic Comedy Gold would be the Dr. Demento fave: Scary Gary Allen’s “New Years Resolutions.” I’m imagining you’ve heard this, but let’s flash that past one mo’ time.

And, while i’m nostalgic for the past (happens this time of year), let’s go back to the ’40s for Spike Jones and His City Slickers. The cast o’ characters trot out their sfx and rude humor for their own resolutions with “Happy New Year.” heh  heh …with a baseball bat! har!

Christmas/New Year’s Eve

As Tonight is one of the Twelve Days of Christmas, let’s pause to give New Year’s Eve its due.

NYE is often a poor excuse to fill in a Holiday Album–even with an original, a la Alabama, Cyndi Lauper, or ABBA. It’s noisy and desperate for you to like it, like all those single guys you don’t know at your party.

Oh yeah, and there’s U2. Hardly a novelty.

Sometimes the songs are stand outs, but all emo and desperate still. Like MØ ‘s “New Year’s Eve,”or Josh Pyke’s “New Year’s Song.” Even Van Morrison’s “Celtic New Year” is pretty whiny. Pretty sentiments, punk posings. A slightly more grown up heartbroken paean to pain, Bob Larro’s “Funny What a Year Can Do” fares little better. It’s over, dude. Get a new calendar.

If you really wanna rub me the wrong way, try the children’s versions: The Kiboomers’ “New Year Song for Children,” or Olivia Olson singing for the Phineas and Ferb cartoon show with “It’s a New Year.” The Disney rock is hard to wash off. (Also see Joyce Paultrie’s teen dance bingo “Happy New Year (na, na, na, na, na)” (And then, The Fantastikids sing “Happy Happy New Year” in several languages. Run.) (Slightly more tween is Diana Meyer with “New Year’s Eve.” It’s about finding and enjoying love (LGBQT)–a positive upbeat message for once!–but it’s marred with 7th grade cliched symbolism.)

Now, if you’re not sure what a novelty New Year’s Song is, here is a compilation of ALL standards (easier to keep track of than the Christmas counterparts): “Happy New Year 2016 Songs.” Tune it in and crank it up at 10 P.M. for your boring party background serenade–dude, it’s got ALL the stars–(brace for that ABBA song first).

So let’s start the search for a properly odd New Year’s Eve Anthem. First, consider Death Cab for Cutie’s “The New Year.” It pairs well with slumping and disaffectedness, stained with just a hint of hope.

Dreadful crap also finds its way to the wining and dining and sophistication of the party to end all parties. Donny Goldberg sings nose-first through his “New Year’s Song” but through his shoddy poetry and misspelled captioning he seems uncertain whether time is moving forward or just back and forth like the lovely dancers (what’s his ‘silver spoon’ for at this party?). And there’s sax-like music to swing by.

I didn’t expect metal! Shadow plays the “Theme to New Year’s Evil” like it’s a work for hire. The 1980 slasher did what Garry Marshall now does–cash in on the calendar. But… why?

Some faraway places–esp. the Subcontinent–enjoy this holiday perhaps more than we do, with their fireworks and endless dancing and songs… my heavens the songs these cat’s yowl. Exhibit A: Vennu Nallesh singing “Wish U Enjoy New Year.” It’s one of the few in English (heavily accented with closed captioning), so i thought you’d like that.

Even more off-beat are the entries from one of my loved holiday albums: The American Song-Poem Christmas Album. Sara Stewart with the Lee Hudson Orchestra sings a languid, drunkenly mournful lament “The New Year Song.”

Dick Kent with the Lancelots sing a more forward-thinking hippie-style folk rock scolding to that last song: “A New Year’s Dawning.”

Totally subjectively i loves me some blues for New Years Eve. Charlie Robinson has some smokin’ SW border blues with his “New Year’s Day.” It’s cautionary about bad wimmin and drinkin, Believe.

Here at the eleventh hour i’ll settle for rayull nawlins blues: Sam Lightnin’ Hopkins singing “Happy New Year.” His licks count down his troubles and his hard worn vocals ring in the birth of rock ‘n’ roll. Hear him testify. You’ll be reborn.

Rock Parodies Made Merry: “Oddity”

1970’s “Space Oddity” was David Bowie’s first chart hit. A subsequent US album got named for it. It’s as much about drugs as it is about Kubrick’s ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’ (which is as much about drugs–mind expansion–as about space travel). Some will argue Mr. Jones’s music is not technically ‘rock.’ But i argue those who listened to the branchings of rock (be it progressive, psychedelia, metal…) listened to this.

Joel Kopischke makes some dang funny yule parodies. He’s done voice over for commercials and jingles as well. Since 2005 his comedy albums jingle my bells. Back then was “I Got Yule, Babe.” Now it’s “Ground Control to Santa Claus.”

Rock Parodies Made Merry: “Believer”

Confession time. I watched ‘The Monkees’ TV show every week. I was 10. It appealed to the iconoclast rebel in me. It barely fazed me to learn later that they were a corporate formula, a formulaic band designed by committee with songs bought from legitimately contracted musicians. They rocked. “I’m a Believer” was Micky Dolenz’s 1966 anthem about gettin’ some. He was the dumb drummer and rarely got paired romantically during the sitcom’s hijinx. Go Mickey D! I’m in your corner! (The Neil Diamond penned danceable–he’d already recorded it–became, for The Monkees, the biggest selling record of 1967. And it came out right around Christmas.)

And, yeah–this is pop. Not really rock. Go take out your tree or something, ok?

The Mistletones is a who’s-that a cappella group from the ’90s who suddenly went parodical in 2012 with their witty album Naughty and Nice. Sadly their attempt to orchestrate their funny takes on pop songs included only hand-bells. Musically these are a bit off. But a big Jingle for Effort, guys. “I’m a Believer.”